Homer's Travels: Shaving ... Check.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Shaving ... Check.

Disclaimer:  I've been drawing blanks lately for things to post about.  I've been rolling this one in the back of my head for awhile and frankly ... it falls a little flat but I've decided to post it anyway.  My apologies.

For the past month or so I have felt like I've been in training, preparing for the Way of Saint James (El Camino de Santiago).  I've started taking longer hikes on the Wabash.  I've started hiking with a backpack to approximate the pack that's I'll be wearing on the camino.  I've begun looking at the clothes and the equipment that will be in my pack.  Of course I started putting my packing list together a long time ago - November 2007 to be exact.

One thing that will not be in my pack will be my electric razor.  For most guys this would be no big deal.  They probably learned to shave with a blade razor when they were in high school and are now quite proficient.  I learned how to shave using an electric razor.  My dad got me started.  As I thought about the pilgrimage I realized an electric razor wouldn't do.

An electric razor fails weight-wise and the whole where's an outlet thing would be an inconvenience.  I look terrible in a beard - I and splotches of light colored facial hair that, from a distance, looks like bald spots.  I haven't had a full beard for years (decades?) so that might not be a problem anymore but the idea of an itchy, hot beard isn't appealing.  The only option would be me learning how to shave with a blade razor.

Now, one skill I have, one that I am very proficient with, is the ability to turn the tiniest, simplest thing in the world into the most important and earth changing event of my life.    That is what I did with learning how to shave with a blade.  I went online and found videos about how to properly shave with a blade.  I read how to do it properly.  I fretted about it for months ... yes, months.  Frankly these videos, while very instructive, made it look more complicated than it actually was.  There are people out there who take shaving way too seriously.  Multiple lathering.  Shaving in multiple directions.  Rinsing and repeating.  My God, would I ever master this art, will my face die the death of a thousand cuts, or razor burned to a crisp?

I took the plunge and ordered a shaving kit at amazon.  I decided to go a little old school with the soap and boar hair brush while swerving back into the modern world with a disposable razor.

Last week I lathered up as I'd seen on the YouTube and swiped the disposable razor down my face and thought "What was I worried about?!?"

I feel like such a fool.  It just took me thirty-some years to learn such a basic skill.  Not only that but the shave is closer than my electric razor and it doesn't take any longer to do the deed.  Now I'll just have to buy some travel shaving soap and I'll be all set for Spain.


  1. It definitely beats shaving with an electric doesn't it? Once I started I never looked back.

    Now maybe I should start using some fancy cream like you are. I've been using the same canned stuff for years. It works, but maybe I could do better. Hmmmm....

    Oooh, there is a website for this! http://www.shavereview.com/

  2. okay, i know that women have to shave everything else, but I have always been grateful that I don't have to shave my face...or that I need to shave my face.

    This was a fun post. I'm glad you shared. No flatness at all :)

  3. That's cool, but I truly think you should just go ahead and grow the beard on the trail. Bring that American Mountain Man spirit to Europe! :D

  4. MH: It sure does. I'm only using a bar of shaving soap. Nothing really fancy.

    Miss McC: Thanks, It felt a little flat to me but at least it wasn't another "Hiking Iowa" post. Give yourself a decade or two and you'll probably need to shave or, as most women refer to it, wax.

    GH: I've thought of doing it but the itchiness and the extra warmth would not be welcome. No sir. Plus, my beard tends to be curly and it really looks weird when it gets long.

  5. NEVER!!! In my family, if one is going to have a mustache, it would have manifested by now :)